Lindsey’s closes for winter after employee’s covid diagnosis

Dec 12, 2020

After one of her employees tested positive for coronavirus and fell sick, Cheri Lindsey decided to close Lindsey’s until March.

Lindsey’s has never closed since the pandemic began, instead pivoting to take-out and implementing strict cleaning procedures.

Since March, the restaurant has employed three full-time cleaning staff. Every surface was sterilized as soon as a customer left, and the restaurant installed Merv 13 filters to clean the air.

“And then, the inevitable happened,” Lindsey said.

Over the months, Lindsey said the restaurant had been lucky to not have any employees get sick, although some took time off for quarantine and testing after exposure. Then, a back-of-house employee got very ill. 

Although all of that employee’s close coworkers tested negative and it’s unclear where the sick employee caught the virus, Lindsey said she simply did not want to take the risk.

“We’re not going to keep playing this game,” Lindsey said. “It’s rampant. It’s our top priority to keep our customers and staff safe.”

Lindsey said that she has read that January and February are supposed to be especially dangerous. And she’s also concerned that not everyone is taking the virus seriously.

“That’s how it’s spreading. People aren’t doing their due diligence,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey and Jessica Beliveau, the restaurant’s general manager, had warned staff over the summer that they should try to save up as much as possible because the winter could be hard.

They said that many had followed that advice, and were relieved that the restaurant would be closed for several months. 

“I’m very sad today,” Lindsey said, noting that this will be the longest the restaurant has closed in its 40 years of operation. “I worry: I worry about my staff financially, but I worry about their health more.”

Lindsey has tentative plans to reopen in March, but said the exact date will be determined by the state of the pandemic.